There always has been and always will be a significant dose of political calculation in governing, as there always has been and always will be theatricality and posturing in politics. But Republicans have ushered us into the Age of Sabotage, participation in government a fully political business, governing itself purposely and purposefully abandoned.
There’s nothing remotely serious of course in Republican toying with legislation containing the extension of jobless Americans’ unemployment benefits, a schoolboy antic designed to get a rise out of the opposition and to stymie government problem solving. The goal, in the Republican point of view is near future political benefit.
Of course, if you’re hanging onto your home or barely feeding your kids it isn’t quite as cute. Callow youth, even the long in the tooth variety don’t trouble their pretty little heads with grownup consequences. So playing coy on proposals for the reduction of federal subsidies for home heating oil for the poor and the elderly in the northeast (breathe easy, subsidies and incentives for oil and gas producers are untouched…love those conservative values) has the gravitas of frat elections.
Sticking poison pills in legislation to prevent payroll tax increases on the middle-class relive the halcyon days of Young Republican and Young Americans for Freedom hijinks. Dull people’s idea of cleverness can be a public nuisance when it graduates to the halls of congress. And we all knew this far-flung imbibing among Republicans of Ayn Rand was going to cause a wreck eventually. Ayn Rand is for adolescents, not grown-ups, let’s face it. Her heroes and villains of capitalism melodrama is no basis for governing a great nation.
Whether it is cutting budgets in a time of slow economic growth and unemployment, directly contrary to reliable economic maxims and prescriptions, or whether it is threats to shut the government down or to default on the full faith and credit of the United States, it reflects no sense of gravity or adult sobriety, only childish, ideological utopianism indifferent to human consequences and human suffering, the glorious cause ostensibly justifying any collateral pain. Like the Blues Brothers these comedians are on a Mission from God as well, without the soul, the heart, the humor or the sanity, no less.
As has been fleshed out here repeatedly, whether it be transportation, internet, or general infrastructure, educational measurements or the health of citizens, the United States continues on its path of comparative decline. This in no small part is due to the protracted juvenilia and political vandalism of the starve the beast crowd, the infatuation with purity and 18th century nostalgia a childish silliness, starve the beast feudal utopianism laughably tragic in the 21st Century world. Yes, there are hurricanes in Vermont, the west is going up in smoke, and islands in the Pacific are sinking, but mention the exigencies of climate change offered by the greatest minds in climate science that humans are overheating the Earth to the point of catastrophe, and you get from Republicans, “Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh, no, it’s NOT!”
And while we’re at it, we’ve had enough of these hydrocephalic carnival geeks running to be the Republican nominee for presidemt, not to mention the gluttonous television coverage of their carrying on, both a waste and a cosmic insult to the intelligence of America’speople. It’s a wonder a couple hundred million of us haven’t already moved to France just for the chance to substitute Jerry Lewis marathons for Republican debates.